Baltimore quartet Horse Lords are one of those acts that have built their fame gradually over the years, performing and creating in DIY spaces and tea houses. Sam Haberman, Max Eilbacher, Owen Gardner & of course Andrew Bernstein play an excellent blend of polyrhythmic, experimental, microtonal rock that are not to be missed on their Friday’s (April 21st) live appearance at The Ferret.
The following is a brief interview we were lucky to get, while the band is on tour. Enjoy!
Feel free to tell us which are the latest news regarding Horse Lords!
We are currently touring in Europe and played at WORM in Rotterdam on 16th April.
It’s been a really fantastic time touring with Cloud Becomes Your Hand and I think the pairing of our two bands is a really natural one. We both explore experimental ideas and techniques through the lens of rock music, but come at it from very different angles.
How did the collaboration with excellent avant label Ehse Records spring to life for your self-titled debut?
Stewart Mostofsky, the proprietor of Ehse Records, is a good friend of ours and was at many of our early shows. He asked to release a record of ours, and we agreed.
What about your 2nd and 3rd one, ‘Hidden Cities’ & ‘Interventions’ respectively? In what way do you think your sound has evolved related to your debut?
Most of our music is composed for live performance and it has been difficult to translate the energy and nuance of that onto record. I think we’ve gotten better at it with each try, but it is still something we are always trying to refine.
You are very active in the Baltimore DIY scene playing DIY spaces and tea houses and college campuses. Why have you chosen DIY then and if you could give some clues of DIY venues and spaces in Baltimore…
It happened very naturally. We have been involved with underground music in Baltimore for a long time and that is where we feel at home. There is something special about people gathering informally to listen to music, and building something outside of, or at least at the fringes of, mainstream culture and economics. Since the Oakland Ghostship warehouse fire last December a lot of DIY spaces in America have gone quiet, at least temporarily, and this is happening in Baltimore too.
Apart from your releases, you also publish mixtapes featuring interesting artists/acts! What about the latest upcoming ‘Mixtape IV’?
‘Mixtape IV’ features a Horse Lords interpretation of ‘Stay On It’ by the great American composer Julius Eastman, who died in 1990 and has been experiencing a great rediscovery the last few years. It is paired with a longform original collage piece.
Which ones do you consider your most important influences musical & non-musical ones?
It is hard to parse what has influenced us individually and as a group. Everything we come into contact with, musically and noon-musically, molds our outlook. I would say in both cases, the people we are close with in Baltimore, our friends in group Matmos and our involvement with the High Zero Festival, has weighed heavily on us.
What’s forthcoming for Horse Lords then?
‘Mixtape IV’ out May 5 on Northern Spy Records.
Photo credits: Cameron Kelly (1st one)